On Friday, October 29, the Chemistry Club held their annual Pumpkin Explosion on the McKee lawn. Spectators saw the students use chemical reactions to try and make pumpkins explode.
Club president Sam Shouse explained the chemistry behind the blasts. “There are 2 reactions occurring at the same time in the pumpkin. I poured hydrogen peroxide on the sides of the pumpkin and there is an enzyme inside of the pumpkin that breaks the hydrogen peroxide into oxygen gas. At the same time, the calcium carbide is reacting with water that I poured into it to form acetylene gas.” An igniter was connected to the pumpkin and, after waiting a moment to allow the gases and pressure to build, a spark was applied which causes an explosion if the conditions are right.
Sam says, “It is a trial and error process that varies with the effectiveness of the enzyme in the pumpkin.” A build up of too much acetylene gas caused black smoke to pour from some of the pumpkins while too little caused the top to pop off others.
The fourth try was a success, though, and the crowd was treated to a tremendous sound as the pumpkin exploded. “I am glad that I was able to cause an awesome explosion on the really big pumpkin,” said Sam.
The Chemistry Club is open to any student who has taken at least one chemistry course and has a passion for chemistry. The group meets every other Friday and offers members the chance to learn about chemistry and how it impacts everyday life.
Geneva’s website provides additional information about the chemistry major and the chemical engineering major. For further information about the Chemistry Club, please contact Sam Shouse at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To view additional photos from the event, click here.
Geneva College is a comprehensive Christian college of the arts, sciences and professional studies. Founded in the tradition of the Reformed Christian faith, Geneva prepares students to serve Christ in all areas of society: work, family and the church. Geneva College’s philosophy of education is based on the Foundational Concepts of Christian Higher Education. Geneva is a founding member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).
Geneva engineering students compete in national competitions including the Solar Splash, Steel Bridge Building and the Society of Automotive Engineers Baja Competition.